Painter's points, aka painter's pyramids, are small, pointy tools with a wide base designed to elevate a freshly-painted project off the work surface. This allows you to paint both sides without waiting for it to dry after the first side. The idea is that the painter's points contact the piece at the tip, so only an infinitesimally tiny surface area is marred, which is practically imperceptible.
You can buy painter's points at most paint or hardware stores, but you can make them much more cheaply. I made 30 in about 10 minutes for less than a dollar. To buy 30 would probably be about $15. You'll need at least 3 per piece you plan to paint. Make more than you think you'll need; they're very handy.
Step 1: Making the Painter's Points
For materials, you'll need:
- scrap 1/4" plywood, or similar thickness wood
- roofing nails (you want short nails with a thin, wide head. Screws would also work)
For tools, you'll need:
- saw (I used a tablesaw and mitresaw, but a bandsaw or hand saw would work fine)
- drill (I used a drill press, but a hand drill would work)
Cut the wood into 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" squares. To save time, you can cut the plywood into 1 1/2" strips, then stack them to cut squares. Draw an X across the diagonals to find the centre, then drill a hole slightly smaller than your nail diameter. You can stack them again to save drilling time. If you're so inclined, sand them (I didn't bother). Then press or hammer a nail through the hole. If you drilled your hole too large, use a drop of glue to keep it in place, but mine have stayed snug for years without glue.
Box them up, label the box, and keep with your finishing supplies.
Step 2: Using Your New Painter's Points
If there's a side of your project that will be less visible, paint it first. Lay out 3 or more painter's points as wide as you can. Turn your project upside-down and place on the points. Paint the second side and allow to dry for the minimum time recommended by your paint's manufacturer. Repeat for as many coats as needed.
There will be tiny, almost imperceptible blemishes in the paint where the painter's points contacted your project. If this is unacceptable, you can lightly sand with a very fine-grit sandpaper or steel wool before your final coat, and do the final coat without the painter's points, but I've never found this to be necessary. As maker and Mythbuster Adam Savage says, the difference between an amateur and a professional is knowing how to hide your mistakes.
Use the time and money you've saved to sit down and have a frosty brew.